Apple Could Drop Headphone Jack In Future Devices

Apple is opening up its "Lightning Cable" to third-party manufacturers. This could signal a new era of headphones and accessories using the cable.

Apple Could Drop Headphone Jack In Future Devices
Apple / Newsy

Apple bought Beats Audio for a ear-smashing $3 billion last week, but rumors out Thursday hint the tech giant could already be Apple-izing its headgear.

A report by 9to5Mac claims Apple plans to abandon the headphone jack. That’s right — future Apple devices might not have a place to plug in your $200 pair of Beats. (Via YouTube / Beats by Dre)

Now, realize that Beats by Dre and other headphones have already cut the cord and embraced Bluetooth. But Apple is heading a different direction. It's betting everything on its Lightning cable instead.

And by "betting," we mean stacking the deck. 9to5Mac noticed a new specification in Apple's Made for iDevice program that hints the company plans to open up its quick cable design to third-party manufacturers. They'll produce the next generation of Lightning cable headphones as well as the accessories they plug into. (Via Apple)

Apple is notorious for curbing dated technology. Remember how angry we were when the 30-pin connector disappeared?

Well, when you're producing some of the most popular products in tech, consumers and manufacturers seem to get over it quickly. Apple might expect the same will happen with headphones. (Via Apple)

The move could also provide a technical advantage, too. The cable can reportedly take a 48kHz digital stereo output, which gives a fuller sound with a smoother bass. (Via Wikimedia Commons / unten44)

​Keep in mind, these patents aren't going to production. So perhaps we're freaking out over nothing? Digital Trends is admittedly nervous but reminds everyone, "We're not ready to say the 3.5mm sky is falling just yet."

But oh, will tech sites dream of the day it does. A few of them have already thought ahead and asked, is the concept even sustainable?

Ars Technica says, "Taking up an iPhone or iPad's only Lightning port with headphones would also keep you from listening to things and charging your device at the same time, barring some kind of adapter or wireless charging technology."

The Verge also warns, "It'd be another way for Apple to achieve consumer lock-in, but aside from that, it's hard to come up with obvious or practical benefits to such a change."